A ZDNet reporter attending the RSA security conference last week noted that a Microsoft employee said that Windows Vista's User Account Control (UAC) feature was designed specifically to annoy users. Here's the quote:

"The reason we put UAC into the (Vista) platform was to annoy users--I'm serious," said Microsoft product unit manager David Cross, speaking at the RSA Conference here Thursday. "Most users had administrator privileges on previous Windows systems and most applications needed administrator privileges to install or run. We needed to change the ecosystem. UAC is changing the ISV ecosystem; applications are getting more secure. This was our target--to change the ecosystem. The fact is that there are fewer applications causing prompts. Eighty percent of the prompts were caused by 10 apps, some from ISVs and some from Microsoft. Sixty-six percent of sessions now have no prompts."

Fair enough. There's ample evidence that Windows users needed to be jolted out of the it's-OK-to-run-everything mentality that has contributed heavily to many security issues on this platform over the past several years. And even without having been there, you can tell exactly how this was presented: Microsoft felt they did the right thing and Cross communicated that in a slightly ironical tone because it's hard, generally, to understand why annoying people is the right thing to do.

Obviously. But then we also don't have to stretch our imaginations very far to see how this was misreported around the Web. Is someone planning a class action lawsuit against Microsoft yet? I mean, the indignity. :)